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I. Outline of Topics & Central Terms: Leon Trotsky
1) Leon Trotsky, “Their Morals and Ours” (1938)
    The materialist (dialectical) conception of history and morals
    Trotsky’s view of common sense morality
    Marxist notion of Ideology (discussed in seminar)
    Class struggle: the proletariat versus capitalist
    Idea that the End justifies the Means: Trotsky’s critique? justification?
    Revolutionary (Proletarian) Morality vs. Democratic Morality
    Leninism v. Stalinism: differences?
    From Seminar:
    Lenin’s Idea of a Vanguard Party
    Idea of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat
    Trotsky’s Internationalism

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a) What is the author’s ultimate moral standard or norm (& justified how)?
For Trotsky moral standards are the moral standards of a class one is part off. Morality, according to Trotsky, more than any other form of ideology has a character of class. Trotsky rejects universal moral standards, as one cannot be subjected to moral standards other than the morals of the class one is a part off. Trotsky also believes that moral standards cannot be viewed apart from material reality because material reality creates different classes.
b) Their conception of the person (basic traits presupposed or extolled)?
Their conception of the person is reflected in their teachings. The ruling class needs persons that are slaves, subordinated and submissive. With that means the ruling class protects their interests in the class struggle. They see that order as natural and eternal and that is how they present it to us. According to Trotsky, they force us submit to their will and accept the natural order. Class struggle is something that will break that “natural order”.
c) The role morality plays in politics in their view.
Morality is essential to politics in their view of the reality. They are trying to sell us “a universal morality” but double standards are applied when it comes to their interests. They also present democracies as moral in an effort to crush the revolt of the subordinated classes. According to Trotsky, religion and “fictional universal morals” are used by them in politics also as a purpose of keeping the proletariat submissive and obedient.
1) Leon Trotsky, “Their Morals and Ours” (1938)
The materialist (dialectical) conception of history and morals
The conception of dialectical materialism is based on the concept...
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